In my last blog post I walked you through how I personally review every year during the last week of the year, outline the upcoming year, and then set goals & a timeline. It’s a process that for me always includes the same planning tools year after year— in fact, many of them have became annual Christmas presents my family gives me.
In each of the three planners, I record birthdays, anniversaries, and other important annual dates. Aside from those, I use each of the planners in a different way and keep them in different places in my home. Below I’ll review which planner type I prefer, link to the specific ones that I got this year, and give you some insight so that you can replicate this process if you find it helpful!
Pretty sure this should be a staple in every home. I grew up in a home where my dad had one on his desk, and our family had one hung from a wall in the kitchen. My mom was sure to record birthdays, important dates, and events for the week so that we were all in the know and could plan accordingly.
I opt for a slightly smaller version than the standard, because I hang it on our kitchen pantry door which is an oddly weird (small) size, so this one from Target has been a perfect fit! I’m also a very…plain…person when it comes to color, and black and white are staples in my home so this white one with gold accents is also perfect (for me). Seeing month by month is super helpful in planning out the upcoming months commitments, and also things like sports or activities, weekly lessons (I.e. swimming, piano, etc.), and helping ensure important agenda items like vacations and get-aways are planned out as well. Those at times can easily get a backseat in planning, assuming that “We’ll get to that later,” but if you’re anything like I was a few years ago — those great intentions didn’t come to fruition until years later. Ironically enough, it was also when I got more diligent with my planning, goal setting, and calendar usage.
This is a go-to of mine for about fifteen years now, and I use it more as a journal than I do a planner. I’ll write down all family and friends’ birthdays at the start of the year, and then about 3-4 times throughout the month I write down a brief description of what I did that day. With a 2×2 inch square (at best) for each day, obviously there isn’t room to go into any level of detail, but just a high-level of the day/week is all I do.
My grandma started this practice decades ago, rather than keeping a traditional daily journal, she used a monthly planner. My mom experienced how fun it was to easily look back and learn about fun-facts and see specific dates for events from her mom, so she too adopted this practice. It goes without saying, I had some role models in this area and quickly started this monthly habit as well, except for at an earlier age than either of them. This planner turned journal is by far is my favorite and one that I keep year after year. I always get the kind that isn’t bound, and is super flat so that it is not only easy to write in (you don’t have to try to avoid the binding), but it also stores very easily without taking up room.
Ah…the weekly planner. My ‘Bible’ if-you-will, for all things tasks, appointments, notes, to-do lists…all of it. Historically, I like to get one that is hard cover and about 5×7 inches big. This year however, apparently the one I asked for for Christmas was 8.5×11 inches and a soft cover, but the extra space inside has been a welcomed surprise!
In my opinion, a weekly planner that has every day of the week plus 1-2 pages dedicated for the month view as well, is a planner that everyone should get. I also use a phone app for appointment reminders, but having a hard-copy and a one-stop-shop for all of my notes, lists, etc. that I have to physically write down helps commit it to memory.
I’ve used a variety of brands over the years, and so far I am really liking this years from Target by TF Publishing. I’m an indoor plant lover, and as previously mentioned am very inclined to stick with a black and white color pallet, so this was right up my alley. I also really liked the brown-paper-bag style paper for the inside pages and in a way helps call to my more creative side compared to a stock white page.
Overall, every year it seems I learn a few new fun practices to implement into my planning routine, but all in all the bones of it stay the same. I love hearing how other people plan out their year, goals, and record it all though, so feel free to share it with me!